“Margaret Thatcher was a pioneer, willingly or unwillingly, for the role of women in politics. Her hard-nosed fiscal measures took a toll on the poor, and her hands-off approach to financial regulation led to great wealth for others. There is an argument that her steadfast, almost emotional loyalty to the pound sterling has helped the UK weather the storms of European monetary uncertainty. To have withstood the special hatred and ridicule, unprecedented in my opinion, leveled in our time at a public figure who was not a mass murderer; and to have managed to keep her convictions attached to fervent ideals and ideas — wrongheaded or misguided as we might see them now — without corruption — I see that as evidence of some kind of greatness, worthy for the argument of history to settle. To have given women and girls around the world reason to supplant fantasies of being princesses with a different dream: the real-life option of leading their nation; this was groundbreaking and admirable.”
— Here’s Meryl Streep, who portrayed former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in the 2011 film “The Iron Lady,” remembering the politician, who died today at age 87.
After the jump, others remember the controversial yet pioneering Thatcher, who was Great Britain’s first and only female PM: Keep reading »
There’s artwork and then there is earthwork, which is just what it sounds like: artwork built into the ground. This naked woman is “Northumberlandia,” a 1,300-by-830-ft long piece of landscape sculpture located in Northumberland in the UK. It’s the largest piece of “human body” earthwork in the world. Keep reading »
The British — they have a reputation for being so refined and proper. But look, these people totally wild out. Take the Royal Ascot — a five-day celebration of British royalty and horseracing. The Queen and a bunch of members of the royal family show up, and there’s lots of white gloves and fancy dresses. But the biggest star of the day? The wackadoodle hats that women wear to the festivities — particularly on Ladies’ Day. We’ve culled a selection of some of the crazier headwear — including a woman wearing a soccer field as a hat, really — for your perusal. Enjoy!
Catherine Furey, 38, of the UK, died in December 2010 after drinking concentrated vinegar, a DIY abortion she read about on the Internet. Furey had a “violent reaction” to the vinegar, was rushed to the hospital and died.
The details of her death have only now come out in relation to a trial against Furey’s sister-in-law, Dawn Chadwick, who handed Furey the vinegar bottle. Arrested in 2011, Chadwick was later charged with “unlawfully supplying a poisonous or noxious substance with the intent to cause the miscarriage of a woman.” The charge was later upgraded to manslaughter, but she was eventually cleared of wrongdoing. The families of the two women, through their lawyers, have issued statements saying they do not blame the sister-in-law for Catherine Furey’s death. Keep reading »
A doctor, a dentist, and an alternative medicine practitioner were all secretly filmed offering to perform or arrange female genital mutilation (FGM), according to the UK Guardian. FGM involves removing all or part of the external female genitalia, and sometimes sewing the opening to the vagina shut. It’s all supposedly for the purpose of making it impossible for a woman to have sex for pleasure and therefore ensuring her “purity” upon marriage.
The so-called “female circumcisions” are performed on girls as young as 5 and is widespread across Africa; you can read more about FGM on the World Health Organization’s web site. Thankfully, human rights and women’s rights activists across the continent are condemning the horrific procedure. As such, both performing FGM and arranging for it to be performed are illegal in the UK. But that doesn’t stop FGM from occurring in the UK: the Guardian claims 100K women in the country have been mutilated. I hope those doctors know FGM carries a 14 year prison sentence and are shaking in their boots/heels. [Guardian UK; Telegraph UK]
You might think that advocates for victims of domestic violence might be thrilled about a proposal that would, in theory, positively affect their life’s work. So why is a new pilot program called “Clare’s Law,” spearheaded by the father of a woman murdered by her abusive partner and set to go into effect this summer, getting a cool reception? Keep reading »
Talk about an “extreme makeover”: a UK high school removed mirrors from the girls’ bathrooms after girls flouted the dress code rules about makeup. Shelley College in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, once allowed female pupils over age 14 to wear “discreet” makeup. But “five or six girls … the ones who wear the most makeup” continually overdid it in the tastefulness department, so the school felt forced to respond. Now all female students except for those in their six form (the British equivalent of 12th grade) are forbidden from wearing makeup at school and mirrors have been removed from the girls’ bathrooms to boot! “There comes a point when you need to stop teachers spending half an hour in the day talking to girls about their make-up,” the school principal told the UK’s Daily Mail. “It is more sensible to say it’s not allowed.” All teachers have been given makeup remover in case a girl runs afoul of the ban. Keep reading »